Back in April, I had been informing certain people on a need-to-know basis that I was planning to run a poll at the start of June. I was, at the time, rather discouraged by the lack of reception Mighty Miners was getting, despite having most of the core gameplay loop and a robust level editor already in place, and I wanted to test the waters to see if an alternative project may have more support. The plan was to create very small, fast, "proof of concept" demos for four other games (later reduced to three, as the fourth was going to be a collaboration with another creator who turned out to be gun-shy about "commercial" work) that could also be made with my own Unity talents and a very small budget and then put it up to a community vote whether to stay the course with Mighty Miners or switch gears to one of the other candidates.
You may have noticed that it is now nearly halfway through June, and there are no demos, and no poll.
For basically as long as I can remember, and particularly ever since I got my degree and no longer had the external force of classes on me, I have had an ongoing problem where I will be a whirling dervish of productivity for 2-3 months, followed by a period of 6-9 months where trying to work in Unity or earnestly focus on anything feels like walking through tar. It's not that I work myself so hard that I burn out - even when I'm in these funks, the rational part of my brain is raring to go, perpetually ready and desperately wanting to get back to business, but then it has to delegate the job to my actual brain, which behaves like an obstinate mule that I have to just kind of pray is willing to move at all, much less in the direction I want it to. I've read a lot of dialogue about ADHD and Executive Dysfunction, and much of it has sounded like a dead ringer for my own experiences. A piece of advice I've heard often, from family and otherwise, is to set a deadline, a hard rule that X must by done by Y date. So that's what I did! "I'm going to have the polls and demos ready by June. That gives me two months, and it's an amount of work I am provably able to do in three weeks (I got from 'first making the MM project in Unity' to 'playable proof of concept' in only one, and I was going to do this for three games), so this should be no problem." But the part of my brain that keeps me from doing even things I want to do refused to budge.
What I have learned from this is that my executive dysfunction is altogether too severe for me to be able to make any promises to anyone until I somehow get it under control. Solving this problem will take nothing less than a professional diagnosis and medication, a line which I had avoided in the past due to financial concerns; however, the current circumstances involving the COVID-19 quarantine have actually left my personal savings in a very good state (I'm currently working a job that wasn't interrupted at all by the quarantine, still got the stimulus check plus the tax refund, and my expenditures have gone way down), so once the threat of COVID-19 is past, I will be seeking psychiatric help. Until then, Mighty Miners and all other RJS projects should be considered to be officially on hiatus - I am not giving up, and there is still the possibility that the stars will align, the mule that is my brain will actually decide to work with me, and I'll once again become that whirling dervish of productivity, for at least a while, but I have no way to discern when that will happen, and thus I cannot give out any trustworthy timeframes regarding Mighty Miners or any of my other projects, save that I am working on them "when I can" and they will be updated/completed "eventually".
In the meantime, I want to strive to be more socially active. I dearly miss the days when I was part of an active forum that I could look forward to engaging with each day, and it has been my greatest goal with RJS to create such a forum myself, using interest in my own projects as a catalyst for discussion and participation. It has become clear that in my current state I cannot maintain the output needed to sustain interest in my active projects alone, so until I can get the help needed to be able to do so, I will have to adjust the goals of RJS accordingly. I want to share some of the plans for larger projects I want to take on in the future - most of them are heavily based on existing games, so I can frame them as "reviews" for the existing games where I outline what I feel are the original game's shortcomings and how I would address them in the version of the game where I'm the one in charge. In the past, I was hesitant to do anything like this until I could "prove" that I was actually capable of bringing these ideas to fruition, because I was concerned that no one would be interested in a game that they have no reason to believe will ever exist. However, until I am able to maintain Rocket Jumping Spiders as a outright game developer, I would like to run RJS as a gamedev discussion forum in the interim. Other members are free to share their own game ideas on Discord, or better yet, on this official forum, where we can discuss design philosophy and brainstorm ideas. In addition, I want to run events where we can all play games together - I am a person who is eager to play multiplayer games, but playing with random strangers via automated matchmaking has never done it for me. I have a large variety of games I'd like to try organizing sessions for, though most of them are admittedly rather obscure. I also have a Minecraft Realm that I'd like to open up to the RJS community as soon as the Nether Update is released.
I am deeply sorry to anyone who is disappointed by this news, but rest assured that I am still as committed as ever to the future of RJS, and I want to engage with what community I have in these rough times in any way that I can. I look forward to talking with you all again soon!